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Abstract

Objective

To evaluate hoof size, shape, and balance as risk factors for catastrophic musculoskeletal injuries (CMI), including suspensory apparatus failure (SAF) and cannon bone condylar fracture (CDY) in Thoroughbred racehorses.

Animals

95 Thoroughbred racehorses that died between 1994 and 1996.

Procedure

38 quantitative measures of hoof size, shape, and balance were obtained from orthogonal digital images of the hoof and were compared between case horses with forelimb CMI (70), SAF (43), and CDY (10) injuries and control horses whose death was unrelated to the musculoskeletal system (non-CMI, 25). Comparison of group means between cases and controls was done using ANOVA, and multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios.

Results

Odds of CMI were 0.62 times lower for a 5- mm increase in ground surface width difference and 0.49 times lower for a 100-mm2 increase in sole area difference. Odds of SAF were 6.75 times greater with a 10° increase in toe-heel angle difference and 0.58 times lower with a 100-mm2 increase in sole area difference. Odds of CDY were 0.26 times lower with a 3° increase in toe angle, 0.15 times lower with a 5- mm increase in lateral ground surface width, and 0.35 times lower with a 100-mm2 increase in sole area difference.

Clinical Relevance

Decreasing the difference between toe and heel angles should decrease risk of SAF for Thoroughbred racehorses and should be considered in addition to increasing toe angle alone to help prevent catastrophic injury. Trimming the hoof to perfect mediolateral symmetry may not be a sound approach to avoiding injury. (Am J Vet Res 1998;59: 1545-1552)

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective

To evaluate selected shoe characteristics as risk factors for fatal musculoskeletal injury (FMI) and specifically for suspensory apparatus failure (SAF) and cannon bone condylar fracture (CDY) of Thoroughbred racehorses in California.

Design

Case-control study.

Animals

Thoroughbred racehorses (n = 201) that died or were euthanatized at California racetracks between August 1992 and July 1994.

Procedure

Shoe characteristics were compared between case horses affected by FMI (155), SAF (79), and CDY (41) and control horses that died for reasons unrelated to the appendicular musculoskeletal system (non-FMI; 46). Multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios for FMI, SAF, and CDY.

Results

Toe grabs were identified as possible risk factors for FMI, SAF, and CDY. The odds of FMI, SAF, and CDY were 1.8, 6.5, and 7.0, respectively, times greater for horses shod with low toe grabs than for horses shod without toe grabs on front shoes. Horses shod with regular toe grabs on front shoes had odds 3.5, 15.6, and 17.1 times greater (P < 0.05) for FMI, SAF, and CDY, respectively, compared with horses shod without toe grabs. The odds of horses shod with rim shoes were a third (P < 0.05) of those shod without rim shoes for either FMI or SAF. The apparent association between toe grab type and CDY may, in part, be attributable to concurrent SAF and CDY injuries in many horses.

Clinical Relevance

Avoiding the use of toe grabs should decrease the incidence of FMI, especially SAF, in Thoroughbred racehorses. The use of rim shoes that are more consistent with natural hoof shape may decrease injury risk. (Am J Vet Res 1996;57:1147-1152)

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

All horses diagnosed by a commission veterinarian of the Kentucky Racing Commission as having sustained a musculoskeletal injury, defined as an obvious change in soundness immediately before, during, or after a race held between Jan 1, 1992 and May 31, 1993 were included in a study to determine the prevalence of and factors associated with racing injuries involving the musculoskeletal system of horses competing at 4 Thoroughbred racetracks in Kentucky. During the 17-month study, there were 35,484 racing starts among 7,649 horses in 3,824 official Kentucky Racing Commission races. During this period, 132 musculoskeletal racing injuries were diagnosed among 117 horses. Twenty-eight injured horses were male, 46 were geldings, and 43 were female. The prevalence of horses with racing injuries per racing start was 0.33% (117/35,484). The injuries of 51 horses were classified as catastrophic, and 66 as noncatastrophic. The prevalence of horses with catastrophic injuries per racing start was 0.14% (51/35,484).

The proportion of horses with injuries of the left forelimb, sesamoid, and third metacarpal bone in the catastrophic group was significantly (P < 0.05) greater than those of horses in the noncatastrophic group. The proportion of horses with injuries of the superficial digital flexor tendon among those in the catastrophic group was significantly less than that of horses in the noncatastrophic group.

The distance of the race was significantly shorter and the number of turns less among horses with catastrophic injuries than among horses with noncatastrophic injuries. The proportions of horses injured at the last turn in the race (stretch turn) and the straight stretch of track before the last turn (back- stretch) among the catastrophic group were significantly greater than those among horses in the noncatastrophic group. Injuries detected after the race among horses in the catastrophic group were significantly less common than those among horses in the noncatastrophic group. The proportion of horses removed from the racetrack by an ambulance was significantly greater among horses in the noncatastrophic group, compared with that of horses in the catastrophic group.

The proportions of horses with racing injuries positioned in the fourth (last) quartile of the group of horses competing in the race (field) and in the third and fourth quartiles (last half) of the field at a point one quarter of a mile after the start (first quarter fraction) were significantly greater than was expected by chance alone. The proportion of horses with catastrophic injuries positioned in the last half of the field at the first quarter fraction was significantly greater than was expected by chance alone.

The forelimbs were involved in 90.2% of racing injuries. The suspensory apparatus of the forelimbs (sesamoid and interosseous ligament) was the area most frequently involved (44.7%), and 85.8% of all racing injuries were located from the carpus to the metacarpophalangeal joint.

Ninety-six horses’ injuries involved only 1 forelimb (81.8%). The proportion of horses (n = 96) with injuries that developed at or near the finish line was significantly greater for the right forelimb than for the left forelimb. Injuries of the left forelimb that developed in the stretch turn were significantly more common, compared with those of the right forelimb.

The proportion of horses with injuries involving the sesamoid was significantly greater for the left forelimb than for the right forelimb. The proportion of horses with injuries to the diaphysis of the third metacarpal bone was significantly greater among horses with injuries that developed in the backstretch and the turn ahead of the finish (clubhouse turn) than that for horses injured at other locations on the track. Injuries of the sesamoids were significantly more common in the stretch turn than at other locations on the track. Injuries of the third metacarpal condyle were significantly more likely to be detected after the race than during the race.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To identify race-start characteristics associated with catastrophic musculoskeletal (MS) injury in Thoroughbred racehorses at 2 racetracks in Florida during 1995 through 1998.

Design—Matched case-control study.

Animals—97 Thoroughbreds (case horses) that incurred a catastrophic MS injury during racing and 388 Thoroughbreds (control horses) randomly selected from noninjured participants and matched on the basis of racetrack and year.

Procedure—Incidence of MS injury was calculated for all race meets at 2 racetracks in Florida from 1995 through 1998. Race-start characteristics were compared among case and control horses, using conditional logistic regression.

Results—Overall incidence of MS injury was 1.2/1,000 race starts (97/79,416 starts). Incidence of injury was significantly higher for turf races (2.3/1,000 starts) than for dirt races (0.9/1,000 starts). Sex, number of days since last race, and racing surface were associated with risk of injury; geldings, ≥ 33 days since the last race, and turf racing surface were associated with a higher risk of injury.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Incidence of injury among Thoroughbreds in Florida was associated with sex, number of days since last race, and racing surface. Days since last race may have been an indicator of previous health and lameness problems. Racing surface may have been a risk factor for MS injury because turf races tended to be more competitive than dirt races. Horses running in turf races were more likely to participate in races with a large field, handicap races, long races, and races with high purses. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:83–86)

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Objective—

To describe and compare data from Thoroughbreds that sustained musculoskeletal injuries while racing with data from matched control horses.

Design—

Matched case-control study.

Animals—

216 Thoroughbreds that sustained a musculoskeletal injury while racing and 532 horses from the same races that were not injured.

Procedure—

Data regarding racing history, race-entrant characteristics, racing events determined by analysis of videotapes of races, and results of prerace physical inspections were determined for all horses. Injured horses were compared with control horses by using conditional logistic regression.

Results—

Results of prerace inspection by regulatory veterinarians were significantly associated with injury. Odds of musculoskeletal injury, injury of the suspensory apparatus of the forellmb, and injury of the tendon of the superficial digital flexor muscle of the forelimb were 5.5 to 13.5 times greater among horses assessed to be at increased risk of injury by regulatory veterinarians on the basis of results of prerace inspection than for horses not considered to be at increased risk of injury. Odds of an abnormal finding in the suspensory ligament during prerace inspection were 3.4 times greater among horses that injured the suspensory apparatus than among control horses, and odds of an abnormal finding in the tendon of the superficial digital flexor muscle during prerace inspection were 15 times greater among horses that njured the tendon than among control horses.

Clinical Implications—

Regulatory veterinarians can identify horses during prerace physical inspection that have an increased risk of injury during races. Prerace physical inspections could be used to reduce the risk of injury to Thoroughbreds during races. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1997;211:454–463)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To identify types of musculoskeletal problems associated with lameness or poor performance in horses used for barrel racing.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—118 horses.

Procedure—Medical records were reviewed for information on signalment, history, physical and lameness examination findings, diagnostic tests performed, diagnosis, and treatment.

Results—Most horses were examined because of lameness (n = 72 [61%]) rather than poor performance (46 [39%]), but owner complaint was not significantly associated with age or body weight of the horse. The most common performance change was refusal or failure to turn properly around the first barrel (19/46 [41%]). The right forelimb (n = 57 [48%]) was most commonly affected, followed by the left forelimb (51 [43%]), the left hind limb (31 [26%]), and the right hind limb (25 [21%]). In 31 horses (26%), both forelimbs were affected, and in 6 (5%), both hind limbs were affected. The most common musculoskeletal problems were forelimb foot pain only (n = 39 [33%]), osteoarthritis of the distal tarsal joints (17 [14%]), suspensory ligament desmitis (15 [13%]), forelimb foot pain with distal tarsal joint osteoarthritis (11 [9%]), and bruised feet (10 [8.5%]). In 81 (69%) horses, the affected joint was treated with intra-articular medications.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that in horses used for barrel racing that are examined because of lameness or poor performance, the forelimbs are more likely to be affected than the hind limbs, with forelimb foot pain and osteoarthritis of the distal tarsal joints being the most common underlying abnormalities. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005; 227:1646–1650)

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Poor performance is an ambiguous term used frequently by people in the horse industry. It means different things to different people, depending on the breed, discipline, or problem being discussed. There are myriad reasons that a horse may fail to achieve the expectations put upon it or, having achieved those goals, begin to falter. Equine temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disease is beginning to be reported as 1 such cause of poor performance. Despite this, in certain disciplines, it has become the trendy diagnosis, and a logical approach to the diagnostic workup is often lacking. Many of the clinical signs attributed to TMJ abnormalities can be readily explained by other more common problems. This ambiguity is compounded by a lack of extensive scientific evidence linking TMJ-related disease to behavioral or performance changes. Despite this fact, the equine TMJ has been reported to be a cause of poor performance, and while rare, it should be included in a differential diagnosis list, albeit one of exclusion. The purpose of this article is to describe a logical, stepwise approach to excluding common causes of poor performance before investigating the potential role of the TMJ in cases of poor performance.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Research Excellence for Translational Research Improving Musculoskeletal Health (SC TRIMH, NIH NIGMS P20GM121342), the South Carolina Bioengineering Center for Regeneration and Formation of Tissues (SC BioCRAFT, NIH NIGMS 5P30GM131959-04), and the Clemson

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

characterize the medical, horn and sinus, and musculoskeletal disorders and diseases of performance-age bucking bulls. We hypothesized that the frequency of musculoskeletal and horn and sinus disorders would differ for bucking bulls, compared with that for

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association